Finding a job in the creative field has always required a significant effort, but even those with stellar skills and impressive work histories will tell you that it’s particularly tough landing work today.
Not only are more people competing for fewer jobs, but the bar also has been raised for today’s job seekers: Six in 10 advertising and marketing executives interviewed by The Creative Group said the caliber of their firm’s creative talent is higher now than it was three years ago.
This means hiring managers are pickier than ever, holding out for only those individuals who can improve the quality of their already high-performing teams. So, what can you do to stand out and prove to employers you deserve a spot on their team? The following five tips can help:
1. Create a Cohesive Package.
Creating a compelling brand to market your core strengths, and applying it consistently across your job-hunting materials, will help to impress even the most fastidious hiring managers. Make sure your resume, business cards and 30-second elevator pitch convey the same message?that you’re an award-winning web designer that specializes in the healthcare industry, for example?so it’s easy for hiring managers to discern how your unique skills and experience will benefit their firm. Be sure to extend your brand to your social media accounts, too, if you use them for professional purposes.
2. Make Your Mark?Online.
Leverage the Web to build your brand and increase your exposure to potential employers. For example, consider creating a personal website if you don’t already have one. This will allow you to show off your skills, work samples and more. It also can help you capture the top search result if employers look for information about you using popular search engines. Publishing relevant articles or commenting in industry forums also is a good way to increase your exposure and position yourself as a subject matter expert in the online community. Finally, don’t forget to publicize recent projects you’ve completed, awards you’ve received or your attendance at industry events or conferences via LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.
3. Show Off Your Social Media Expertise.
The rise of digital marketing is creating jobs that didn’t exist a decade ago. There’s growing demand for community managers and social media specialists who can help oversee firms’ social media efforts and engage with customers online. Even if your core area of expertise is graphic design, employers today are looking for people who also can tweet, respond to Facebook posts and build the company’s fan base. If you have helped with a successful social media campaign, or have an avid interest in this space, be sure to share it with potential employers.
4. Focus on ROI.
Whenever possible, you want to show the impact of your efforts on a previous client’s or employer’s bottom line. Did you develop an e-mail campaign that increased sales or brand awareness? Did traffic to a client’s website increase after your redesign? Spell out measurable results whenever you can?in your resume and, perhaps more importantly, your portfolio as well. In a recent survey by The Creative Group, marketing and advertising executives said the most common mistake professionals make when developing their portfolios is “not showing the results of their work.” So, for each sample in your book, be sure to include a brief description of the project, your role and any positive outcomes as a result of your contributions.
5. Present Yourself Well in Person.
If you’re called in for an interview, remember your enthusiasm?or lack thereof?will show during the meeting. Simple steps, like offering a firm handshake, sitting up straight, smiling and maintaining eye contact with the interviewer, will showcase your positive attitude. Small shifts in body language, like tapping your foot impatiently, or tone, such as sighing under your breath, can undermine your efforts to make a good impression. In this job market, especially, displaying an upbeat attitude can distinguish you from other equally qualified job seekers.
The fundamentals of the job search?reaching out to employers and making a positive impression?haven’t changed. But the tools for marketing yourself are different, and employers want to see you’re hip to these trends. Branding yourself well?both online and off?and always relating your experiences to companies’ bottom lines will impress hiring managers and give you a leg up in the job hunt.
- Arm yourself with knowledge when searching for a job: Has it been awhile? Learn what’s in/out on the job hunt. Once you land the interview, find out what not to ask.
The Creative Group is a specialized staffing service placing advertising, marketing, creative and web professionals with a variety of firms. For online job-hunting services, candidate portfolios and The Creative Group’s award-winning career magazine, Click Here.
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